Plastic Free July
It’s Plastic free July! With the new Covid reality our lifestyles have changed, but we can always do more. The challenge is set to educate people about plastic pollution and encourage us to make practical and conscious decisions to reduce waste.
By taking part in Plastic free July and reducing your waste you are contributing to a cleaner planet and safer future. In reducing plastic waste in your home, not only do you contribute to preserving our oceans and natural habitats, but also conserving landfill space, saving energy used in recycling processes and conserve resources used to make new packaging.
If you are interested in taking part in Plastic Free July here are a few resources and simple tips to help get your started.
Make small simple swaps in your everyday life, such as taking a refillable water bottle with you when you go out, keeping a cloth bag with you in case you need to pick up some last minute provisions from the shops, or taking a reusable coffee mug to your local cafe.
Audit your rubbish bin
It might sound odd, but understanding the products you are buying and the rubbish they are creating will help you decide what to keep, cut out and what to replace with a plastic-free alternative.
Refuse, refuse. Refuse
It’s the small single use plastics that are difficult to recycle and take years to biodegrade, causing pollution problems in our oceans. Make a conscious effort to refuse single use items, such as plastic cutlery and single packets of sauces from restaurants. Switch to paperless bank statements, magazines and newspapers to avoid plastic packaging and refuse junk mail and promotional flyers.
Explore your local area
Many local businesses are more likely to provide package free options or refill your own containers. For example, love making a morning coffee but you can’t get any coffee beans unpackaged? Approach your local cafe and ask if you can buy some coffee beans from them and bring your own containers. To avoid buying milk in plastic containers why not find your local milk man through the Dairy Drop app.
The more you explore your local area the more plastic free options you may discover. Many small food stores sell loose vegetables and fruit, independent bakery’s may allow you to bring reusable cloth bags for bread, and butchers may let you use reusable BPA free plastic containers to buy meat and fish.
Some supermarkets, such as Morrisons have recently implemented a new policy which allows customers to bring their own containers to the fish and meat counters.
Find your local Zero Waste shop, and start going there for your basic bulk items such as spices, pulses and grains. Watch this video about zero waste shopping with our founder and CEO Safia Minney.
Best Products to help you reduce plastic
- Coffee mug
- Reusable water bottle
- Reusable, refillable cloth bags
- Reusable cutlery, such as those made by Bambu
- Don’t feel the need to buy all these items new. Old jam jars, lunchboxes, old takeaway containers are great to reuse when shopping for food, especially when you are on a budget. If you are crafty try and learn how to make your own drawstring bags from old bed sheets or clothes.
Get to know your local recycling
Understanding what can and cannot be recycled in your area will have a huge impact and help you shop more consciously. Councils are starting to recycle soft plastics, most common in food packaging, that were one non-recyclable. This will allow you to make a more informed decision about what you can and cannot buy, without restricting yourself for the things you really need.
Plan your meals properly
Planning and cooking your meals will help you to buy only what you need and reduce the amount of plastic from ready meals and packaged food.
But what if I want a takeaway? If you don’t always have the energy to cook but hate the packaging of takeaways, go to your local or regular restaurant and ask if they would be happy to refill your own containers with your food order. Simply collect your order earlier bringing your clean containers with you.
Buy in bulk
https://www.lovehealthhatewaste.com/If you can buy your pulses, pasta and rice from bulk stores. Whilst there are some independent stores that offer plastic free options, this is not always accessible to everyone. In which case why not buy from organic online bulk stores such as Sumawholesale.com, and Essential-trading.coop . Another fantastic shop selling organic and fairtrade products is Love Health Hate Waste.
Why not share the cost of large bulk buying with other friends and family, to save money and transport costs.
Explore Eco-friendly alternatives
Use this month to explore plastic free and more sustainable alternatives to the products you are used to. Try some plastic-free make-up products, shampoo and deodorant bars, and try shaving with a reusable razor.
Can’t Buy it DIY it!
If you can’t buy the products you need plastic-free, why not try making them yourself? For example, Bea Johnson, writer of Zero Waste home has tested and tried a variety of make up and beauty products which are available in her book ‘Zero Waste home’ and on her blog by the same name.
Another great DIY zero waste blogger is Lauren Singer, writer of Trash is For Tossers and founder of Package Free. Here you can find resources to learn to make your own deodorants, toothpaste and body butter.
Join Lara from My Fair Ladle in September to learn how to make your own Zero Waste cosmetics.
Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson
How to live plastic free by the Marine Conservation Society
Turning the Tide on Plastic by Lucy Siegle